28 MAY 1892, Page 26

My Mission to Abyssinia. By Gerald H. Portal. (E. Arnold.)—

Mr. Portal went, at the request of the British Government, after the slaughter of the Italian troops at Dogali (on the road be- tween Massowah and Sahati), to mediate between King johannis of Abyssinia and the Italian Government. The Cabinet of Rome was bent on avenging the defeat; but if the Abyssinian King could be induced to give satisfaction, they would desist from action. It was Mr. Portal's duty to make his way to the King, and induce him, if he could, to do what the Italian Government wanted. Many difficulties were in the way. The country is not an easy one to traverse. Guides, i.e., trustworthy guides, could hardly be found; there were powerful persons, notably Ras-Alula, the Abyssinian Commander-in-Chief, who were unwilling that the mission should reach the King. After a variety of perilous adventures, Mr. Portal and his companions did reach King Johannis, and then found that he had come for nothing. The terms which he brought were essentially unacceptable. The Abye- sinians had done nothing more than what was within their right when they attacked the Italians. (Mr. Portal, indeed, stretched his commission to the utmost when he asserted that no European nation would commit "a massacre of that sort." Europeans killed in war are always said to be "massacred.") In the end, the envoy got safe back, not having laboured in vain, as his toil- some and dangerous journey enabled him to see much of an almost unknown country and people, and to collect the materials for an interesting and valuable book.